CMU Nanotechnologies and Material Science Team visits Portugal

Between June 19 and 23, a delegation of four faculty members from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) visited  19  Portuguese Labs, Research Centers, and Institutes in the areas of nanotechnologies and material characterization. Over four intensive days,  the CMU Professors engaged in brainstorming sessions and meaningful discussions with the Portuguese Researchers, identifying common interests and directions of  future research directions and collaborations under the scope of CMU Portugal Program.

The CMU delegation consisted of Theresa S. Mayer, Vice-President of Research at CMU and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Elizabeth Dickey, Department Head, Teddy and Wilton Hawkins, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; Gary Fedder, Faculty Director, Manufacturing Futures Initiatives, Howard M. Wilkoff Professor, in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering & the Robotics Institute; and Gianluca Piazza, Nanofab Director and STMicroelectronics Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Throughout the visit, they were accompanied by José M. F. Moura, Director of the CMU Portugal Program at CMU, Philip L. and Marsha Dowd University Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Sílvia Castro, the CMU Portugal Program Executive Director in Portugal. 

This visit followed the visit by Elvira Fortunato, the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education, and Madalena Alves, President of Fundação para a CIência e a Tecnologia (FCT)  to Carnegie Mellon in March. The discussions then suggested that the CMU Portugal Program explore nanotechnologies and nanomaterials as potential new areas of future collaboration.

On June 20th, the delegation’s first stop was at the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory INL, where Madalena Alves (FCT’s president) and Paulo Freitas, INL Deputy Director General, welcomed the group. The visit started with a comprehensive presentation of INL activities and infrastructures by Paulo Freitas and leaders of INL’s research groups related to nanostructures and advanced materials. The delegation had the opportunity to visit several INL laboratories and INL’s research core facilities, engaging with their principal investigators and research teams. 

The CMU faculty followed then with a visit to CF-UM-UP (Physics Center of Minho and Porto Universities), where they were received by António Onofre and Mikhail Vasilevskiy, the current and former CF-UM-UP Directors, respectively, along with research group members at the Gualtar campus of the University of Minho. Mikhail Vasilevskiy presented the institution’s main research fields and strategic lines of research.

Transitioning from the Universidade do Minho Gualtar Campus in Braga to the Azurém Campus in Guimarães, the group was welcomed by Pedro Arezes, the President of the School of Engineering of the Universidade do Minho, and representatives from five different Institutions:  Pedro NunesIPC (Institute for Polymers and Composites), André Matos – DTx (Digital Transformation CoLab),  António J Pontes, DONE Lab (Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory of Products and Tools), André Catarino – 2C2T (Centre for Textile Science and Technology) and Pedro Mimoso – PIEP (Centre for Innovation in Polymer Engineering). The CMU group had the opportunity to interact with members of each institution, visit their research facilities, and gain insight into their capabilities and accomplishments.

On June 21st,  the CMU delegation made their way to Porto, starting their visit at CEiiA (Centre of Engineering and Product Development), where they were received by Rui Magalhães,  Director of the Space & Ocean Unit. Rui Magalhães provided an overview of CEiiA’s foundations and the ongoing work in aeronautics, mobility, naval/offshore, and automotive sectors. The visit concluded with a guided tour of CEiiA’s facilities and manufacturing plant.

The CMU delegation next visited the Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS in Porto, a non-profit private association founded by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Europe’s largest organization for applied research. The delegation was welcomed by Liliana Ferreira, the Director of Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, and her team. They presented the Center’s research work, including two projects developed within the scope of FCT’s international partnerships. One notable project was TAMI,  a CMU Portugal Large-Scale project that uses AI tools to develop a platform to support medical decisions.

The CMU delegation’s next destination was Aveiro, the hometown of Universidade de Aveiro, where they visited two institutions. First, they visited CICECO -Aveiro Institute of Materials, where they were welcomed by Artur Silva, Universidade de Aveiro Vice-Rector, to research, innovation, and third cycle training. João Coutinho, Director of CICECO, provided an overview of the institution’s organization and facilities. Several CICECO group leaders briefly presented their main activities and research topics. Rute Ferreira, the Vice-Director of CICECO, then guided the group through a visit to some of its facilities and laboratories, giving them a firsthand experience of the institution’s research capabilities. Next, the group explored I3N Aveiro, where António Luís Ferreira, the Vice-Coordinator, presented the institution and the research lines being conducted at the Aveiro campus. The meeting was attended by some of the institution’s principal investigators, who guided the group through a visit to their respective laboratories. This allowed the delegation to gain insights into the ongoing research activities and collaborations at I3N Aveiro.

On June 22nd,  the tour headed to the city of Coimbra, home to the  Universidade de Coimbra. Founded in 1290, it is one of the oldest universities in Europe and has been classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. The Universidade de Coimbra tour included stops at CFisUC (Centre for Physics of the University of Coimbra), hosted by José Paixão, Head of CFisUC. Researchers from the institution joined the discussion, where they elaborated on the research lines of the five working groups within CFisUC. Continuing their visit to Coimbra, the delegation then proceeded to  CEMMPRE (Centre for Mechanical Engineering, Materials, and Processes). Albano Cavaleiro, the Center President, and colleagues from the research center received them. During their visit, the group discussed the research lines pursued by CEMMPRE, focusing on examples of nanomaterials and nanotechnology applications. This gave the delegation valuable insights into their cutting-edge research and innovations in these fields.

After visiting Coimbra, the delegation moved on to the Lisbon area, where they visited two  universities: Universidade de Lisboa and Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Starting at Universidade de Lisboa, their first stop was at the Laboratory for Robotics and Engineering Systems (LARSyS) at Instituto Superior Técnico, where José Santos-Victor, the President of LARSyS, hosted them. Pedro Lima, President of the ISR (Institute for Systems and Robotics), Alexandre Bernardino, who had previously led CMU Portugal research projects, and Nuno Nunes, CMU Portugal Co-Director and ITI president, also participated in the visit.

The delegation then had the opportunity to discuss research lines and opportunities with CeFEMA (Center of Physics and Engineering of Advanced Materials). The discussion was led by João Seixas, the President of CeFEMA, and researchers from each of the seven research topics being developed at the institution actively participated.

The day concluded with a visit to the facilities of INESC-MN (INESC Microsistemas e Nanotechnologies), where they were received by João Conde, President at INESC MN, Virginia Chu and Susana Cardoso. The discussion  revolved around micro- and nanotechnologies and their applications in electronics, biology, and biomedical devices.

June 23rd marked the last day of the tour, and the final visit was to FCT NOVA, where the group had the opportunity to visit CENIMAT hosted by Rodrigo Martins, Director of CENIMAT | i3N. The delegation familiarized themselves with the work of the six research groups organized into four thematic lines at i3N, particularly focusing on the ones based at CENIMAT, as they had previously visited the i3N polo in Aveiro. The visit also included a tour of the facilities and laboratories.

The visit concluded with a wrap-up meeting and lunch at Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) with Elvira Fortunato, the Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education; Madalena Alves, the President of FCT; and Francisco Santos, the Vice-President of FCT. The group was joined by Inês Lynce, CMU Portugal Co-Director; Mariana Carmo, CMU Portugal Communications office; and Ana Reis, from FCT Department for International Relations. During the working lunch, Theresa S. Mayer summarized the visit to the 19 institutions, highlighting the collaboration opportunities that had emerged from the trip. Gary Fedder and Gianluca Piazza supported Mayer’s conclusions, adding potential future intersections with the work being developed at the institutions that they lead at CMU. The fruitful discussion on the outcomes of the visit led the Minister to emphasize the importance of this new area of research. 

CMU Portugal would like to express its gratitude to all the Portuguese teams and institutions for their warm welcome, insightful presentations, and for the invaluable opportunity to explore their research facilities and share their expertise and dedication to advancing scientific research that inspire groundbreaking work.

The visit to Portugal’s research institutions showcased the country’s strong commitment to scientific advance and innovation. The fruitful discussions, valuable exchanges, and exposure to cutting-edge research conducted by the Portuguese institutions demonstrated the opportunity for meaningful interdisciplinary collaboration and the potential for synergy between CMU and the Portuguese institutions.  The discussions highlighted emerging research areas, including nanotechnologies, advanced materials, robotics, engineering systems, and intelligent manufacturing where products, processes and entire factories are automatically updated by collecting data on their digital twins.  This visit by the CMU Professors further strengthened the ties between CMU and the Portuguese institutions, fostering a spirit of collaboration, knowledge sharing, and mutual growth. 


CMU Portugal “Building bridges across the Atlantic” at Encontro Ciência 2023

The Encontro Ciência 2023 Summit took place July 5th to 7th, 2023, featuring the Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, and the Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato. The event is the central Science Conference in Portugal promoted by the Ministry of Science Technology and Higher Education (MCTES) along with Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT). 

During the Opening Ceremony on July 5th, the Prime Minister bestowed Medals of Scientific Merit upon both national and foreign individuals who have made remarkable contributions to the advancement of science and the fostering of scientific culture in Portugal. One of the esteemed recipients was Manuela Veloso, a distinguished computer scientist and AI researcher, who has been an integral part of the CMU Portugal faculty since the partnership’s inception in 2006. 

Manuela Veloso speech at Opening Session: 1.21.30 

In the afternoon, the CMU Portugal Program hosted the “FCT International Partnerships: Building bridges across the Atlantic” session in collaboration with the MIT Portugal Program (MPP) and UT Austin PortugalThis year, the three international partnerships joined forces to promote a discussion on the far-reaching impact of the FCT GO Portugal collaborations with US institutions.

To showcase the remarkable accomplishments spanning nearly two decades of existence, these partnerships have collaborated on creating an overview video that offers a glimpse into their key outcomes. These include promoting the internationalization of Portuguese scientific and higher education institutions to boost the competitiveness of Portuguese companies and facilitating the mobility and development of highly skilled individuals.

The first panel began with an open discussion involving stakeholders from the three Programs. Each discussion was moderated by a director from the respective partnerships, ensuring a well-rounded exploration of the Program’s impact.

Nuno Nunes, CMU Portugal Program Director, opened the discussion starting by inviting Petia Georgieva, an Associate Professor with Habilitation of Machine Learning at the University of Aveiro, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Electronics Engineering and Telematics of Aveiro (IEETA), as a distinguished guest. Georgieva was a CMU Portugal visiting faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, having spent time at both the Silicon Valley and Pittsburgh campuses. During her testimony, she referred to her time at CMU as a “game-changing experience”. During her mobility visit, she was hosted by Tom Mitchell, a well-renowned computer scientist and the Founders University Professor at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and former Chair of the Machine Learning Department at CMU.

“It was a transformative moment in my life. Thanks to my experience at CMU and under the guidance of Tom Mitchell, I acquired the necessary knowledge to pioneer the launch of Machine Learning and AI courses at Universidade de Aveiro. To this day, I am recognized within my university for this significant contribution.” Petia Georgieva

Pedro Arezes, MIT Portugal Director, and MPP Ph.D. alum Eunice Costa represented the MPP. Eunice currently holds a prominent role as the leader of the Research & Development area of Inhalation and Advanced Drug Delivery at Hovione. During her intervention, she emphasized the significant impact of her MPP Ph.D. and her experience at MIT, highlighting how her company highly regarded these achievements and was instrumental in her professional growth. From UT Austin Portugal, the program’s Co-Director, Rui Oliveira, joined forces with Jorge Sá Silva, Associate Professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DEEC) of FCTUC and a Researcher at INESC Coimbra.  Jorge shared his experience and insights gained through their involvement with the UT Austin Portugal Program, highlighting its profound impact on his professional pathways.

Transitioning to the project presentations, the second panel brought together representatives from research consortia funded through international partnerships.

Inês Lynce, the National Co-Director of CMU Portugal, Doug Hart, the Co-Director of the MIT Portugal Program at MIT, and Rui Oliveira, the National Co-Director of UT Austin Portugal, showcased the projects and initiatives undertaken by their respective programs. Their presentations encapsulated the essence of the partnerships, demonstrating their commitment to driving innovation and fostering collaboration between Portuguese and US institutions.

The round of presentations started with Carlos Viegas,  one of the researchers that led the CMU Portugal Project Safeforest. Carlos Viegas holds the position of Invited Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Coimbra, where he also serves as the head of the Field Tech Laboratory of ADAI.   His research focuses on developing cutting-edge technological solutions in autonomous robots, remote sensing, mechatronics, and fire engineering. In addition to his academic achievements, Carlos Viegas is also the Co-Founder and Manager of three technology-based spinoff companies: Bold Robotics, Lda., Hazred Lda., and Sim4Safety Lda.

During his presentation, Carlos Viegas highlighted the work accomplished under the Safeforest, a CMU Portugal Large Scale Collaborative Project. This initiative was led by the company Ingeniarius, in partnership with SILVAPOR, ADAI, ISR from Universidade de Coimbra, and CMU. Its primary objective is to revolutionize forest wildfire prevention by developing an advanced robotic system to prevent wildland and wildland-urban interface fires.

Leveraging on the opportunities for interaction and research advancement, Carlos Viegas highlighted the strengths of this partnership to drive innovation: 

“It has been a highly collaborative endeavor, combining efforts from both academia and industry in a multidisciplinary project. The full commitment of all teams involved in Portugal and CMU, led by George Kantor, the Project PI in the US, enabled us to achieve the project’s ambitious goals. Through more than 11 research visits spanning Portugal and CMU, we have had abundant opportunities to foster meaningful interactions and propel our research to new heights. This partnership has enabled us to harness the very best from both sides, unlocking the full potential of our collective expertise and presenting state-of-the-art technical solutions to address the global problem of wildfires.” – Carlos Viegas

The session featured two other project presentations: Eduardo Pereira (University of Minho) presented the MPP flagship project K2D – Knowledge and Data from the Deep to Space, which is developing a system for monitoring the oceans on a global scale. And Tiago Hormigo from the company Spin.Works, introduced the UT Austin Portugal project uPGRADE, which focused on how the water moves on the Earth’s near-surface at a regional scale.

After the presentations, the Co-Directors of the international partnerships moderated a brief discussion on the impact and contribution of the US partner institutions to the projects. The discussion focused on the results of the projects and offered a look into the future of these collaborations.

Additionally, CMU Portugal had three posters exhibited at the Poster Session with great examples of the research work being led by its candidates under their Ph.D.:

More about Encontro Ciência 2023.

The overview video of the FCT International Partnerships is available on CMU Portugal Youtube. 

CMU Portugal Summer Luncheon on CMU Campus

The CMU Portugal program hosted a summer luncheon on the Carnegie Mellon campus in Pittsburgh on July 10, 2023. National Co-Director Nuno Nunes was visiting Pittsburgh along with CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. student Shuhao Ma that will be presenting the paper “Uncovering Gig Worker-Centered Design Opportunities in Food Delivery Work” at the Designing Interactive Systems (DIS) 2023 taking place at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh (USA) between July 10 and 14th.

This event brought him together with CMU Portugal students currently studying in Pittsburgh. Attending students included Dual Degree Ph.D., Affiliated Ph.D., and visiting students from across disciplines, including Software and Societal Systems (S3D), Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Human Computer Interaction (HCII) and Robotics. Valentina Nisi, Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Tecnico and advisor to CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. students in the HCII also attended the luncheon. This gathering  gave everyone an opportunity to catch-up while enjoying a meal together, sharing their experiences at CMU in Pittsburgh over the last year and addressing potential challenges for the upcoming academic year. 

Front row: Neeta Khanuja (Dual Degree Ph.D. Student), Maria da Loura Casimiro (Dual Degree Ph.D Student) and Valentina Nisi (Técnico and ITI).
Back row: Shuhao Ma (Affiliated Ph.D. student), Hugo Simão (Unaffiliated Visiting student), Nuno Nunes (CMU Portugal and ITI),
Tamás Karácsony (Affiliated Ph.D. Student), Catarina Gamboa (Dual Degree Ph.D. student), Beatrice Maggipinto (Dual Degree Ph.D. Student) in the back row and Marta Ferreira (Técnico and ITI). 

Not Pictured: Pedro Valdeira and Diogo Mendes Cardoso, both Dual Degree Ph.D. Students. 

Carol Smith (CMU) led @CMUPortugal Talk “Human-Centered and Responsible AI”

On May 26th, 2023, the CMU Portugal Program hosted the Talk “Human-Centered and Responsible AI” by Carol Smith,  a senior research scientist in human-machine interaction in the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute’s Artificial Intelligence Division, which addresses the need for leap-ahead AI capabilities that are reliable, responsible, safe, fair, and transparent.

Under an invitation by the CMU Portugal Program, Carol Smith spent a fruitful morning learning more about some of the initiatives in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Responsible AI in which the Program is involved.

Nuno Nunes, CMU Portugal National Director and ITI President, started by sharing  an overview of the Program and its main activities. 

Shuhao Ma and Pedro Ferreira had the opportunity to present their work under Ph.Ds. Shuhao Ma is a CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. student in HCI and an HCI design researcher at ITI, LARSyS. Pedro Ferreira is a CMU Portugal Affiliated Ph.D. student whose primary interest is research and development in Child-Computer Interaction and the participation of educational communities. The discussion also included the participation of Duarte Ferreira, a CMU Portugal affiliated Ph.D. Student. 

The presentations continued with Hugo Nicolau, Assistant Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico and researcher at the Interactive Technologies Institute / LARSyS. Hugo presented the DCitizens project that aims to build the capacity to conduct research in the field of Digital Civics. Particularly how digital technologies can scaffold a move from transactional to relational service models and the potential of such models to reconfigure power relations between citizens, communities, and institutions.

João Guerreiro, Assistant Professor at Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa and a researcher at LASIGE, followed the conversation with the highlights of HCI being conducted at this institution mainly in Human-Computer Interaction, Non-Visual Interaction, and Accessible Computing.

Helena Moniz, President of the European Association for Machine Translation, Vice President of the International Association for Machine Translation, and Vice-Coordinator of the Human Language Technologies Lab at INESC-ID presented next the new project Center for Responsible AI, where she Chairs the Ethics Committee. This Center, led by the Portuguese startup Unbabel and launched within the Portuguese Recovery and Resilience Plan, is one of the largest centers dedicated to Responsible AI.

The discussion sessions concluded with  the CMU Portugal Talk “Human-Centered and Responsible AI”. The event gathered over 30 participants at CMU Portugal/ITI Premises at Factory (Hub Criativo do Beato). During this talk, Carol Smith focused on new insights for building AI systems that are human-centered and responsible to support participants in creating systems that people are willing to be accountable for.

According to Smith, through decades of HCI and UX efforts, excellent methods and practices have been developed. Still, the dynamic nature of AI systems requires more speculative thinking and more flexible designs. For example, there’s the need to decide which decisions systems are allowed to make; what exchanges between humans and machines will occur; how the interactions will change over time; and how people can be kept safe and in control. It is also crucial to focus on problems such as: how the system will share information on which decisions were based on, how it will convey its capabilities within new contexts, and how the system’s confidence in its responses will be shared. 

The talk ended with a Q&A by the audience focusing on some issues related to the importance of Responsible AI, ethics, and the role of human-centered design, namely in serving but also preserving humans and a younger generation of users. The discussion continued during a light lunch at the premises, an opportunity to network and open doors for future collaborations.

Learn more about the speaker at Carol J. Smith.
CMU Artificial Intelligence (AI) Division

Info Session: “How to apply to CMU Portugal 2023 Mobility Programs”

The CMU Portugal Program hosted on May 10th an Info Session to guide potential candidates to apply to the Open Call for Mobility Programs “Visiting Students” and “Visiting Faculty & Researchers” .

The Info Session was addressed to all researchers and students who wanted to confirm their eligibility for these initiatives and spend a research period at CMU, guiding them through the requirements to submit a successful application.  

Applications are open until June 2nd

The Info Session was moderated by the Program Executive Director in Portugal, Sílvia Castro, and started with CMU Portugal National Co-Director Nuno Nunes, who spoke about his experience under the CMU Portugal Program. Nuno has been involved with the Program since its first phase, as Faculty member and researcher, followed by a period as Scientific Director and now National Co-Director. At the end of his welcome note, he encouraged all participants to apply and try to benefit from this great opportunity to be immersed in one of the top ICT universities in the World. 

The application guidelines and main requirements were then introduced by João Fumega, CMU Portugal’s Education Officer. Megan Berty, CMU Portugal Associate Director at CMU, spoke next on the CMU requirements and the support available by the CMU Portugal coordination office in Pittsburgh.

To know more about the specific requirements to each initiative you can follow these links: “Visiting Students” and “Visiting Faculty & Researchers” .

Next, Marta Freitas who visited CMU in 2022 as a Visiting student, shared her experience with the audience. Marta was at the time a Researcher at the Institute of Systems and Robotics (University of Coimbra), hosted at the Department of Mechanical Engineering by Professor Carmel Majidi. Her research topic is centered on Integrated Printed Soft Robots” and, as a result of this visit, she applied to the 2022/23 Call for Dual Degree Ph.D.s. 

Pedro Moura, a 2019 Visiting Faculty and Researchers participant, also shared a few words with the audience. Pedro is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Coimbra and Researcher at the Institute of Systems and Robotics (ISR Coimbra). He was hosted at CMU by Javad Mohammadi from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the College of Engineering. His research activities are focused on smart grids and energy planning, with research work on topics such as demand-side management and demand response programs, grid integration of renewable energy generation, electric vehicles, and energy storage. It is a collaboration that started on 2019 through this initiative and that continues today. 

Finally, to end the session, there was time for a fruitful 20-minute Q&A, which allowed all participants to clarify their doubts with the panelists. 

For further questions you can visit our website and check our
FAQ Page or contact us at

Safeforest Project results shown in a Workshop at Universidade de Coimbra

The Safeforest project, a CMU Portugal Large Scale Collaborative Project,  hosted a final Workshop on May 4th at the Instituto de Sistemas e Robótica da Universidade de Coimbra. The event brought together members of the consortia and a diverse  audience to showcase the project’s closing remarks and successful results.

Funded through PT2020 and FCT under the CMU Portugal Program, the Safeforest – Semi-Autonomous Robotic System for Forest Cleaning and Fire Prevention is a groundbreaking initiative led by the company Ingeniarius, in partnership with SILVAPORADAI (Associação para o Desenvolvimento da Aerodinâmica Industrial), ISR from Universidade de Coimbra and CMU (Carnegie Mellon University).

Its primary objective is to revolutionize forest wildfire prevention by developing an advanced robotic system for the prevention of wildland and wildland-urban interface fires. The robotic system will focus on creating wide protection corridors used as fuel barriers to control and reduce the spread of large forest fires.

The Opening session was kicked-off by Prof. Aníbal Traça de Almeida, providing an insightful introduction to the project and its noteworthy outcomes. This was followed by a presentation from Sílvia Castro,  CMU Portugal Executive Director, who shed  light on the Program’s overall activities, placing special emphasis on the impactful Large Scale Projects initiative, which was launched in 2018 and is set to conclude by June 2023.

The morning was dedicated to a technical presentation showcasing the remarkable advancements made by the Safeproject consortium in the field of robotic systems. Esteemed researchers from the collaborating entities took the stage to share their contributions: Micael Couceiro (Ingeniarius); Beril Yalcinkaya (Ingeniarius), Carlos Viegas (ADAI), Paulo Peixoto (ISR), Luís Conde (ISR), David Russell (CMU).  

The next panel delved on societal topics related to the importance of forest management as a measure to promote their resilience. Virgílio Bernardino from Silvapor and Miguel Almeida from ADAI, led the discussion presenting the research done on the characterization of houses and surroundings in rural areas in Portugal, protection measures to prevent wildfires, and other related topics. 

In the afternoon, the workshop shifted gears to outdoor demonstrations, showcasing the operational capabilities of two key robots: the SCOUT drone and the semi-autonomous platform RANGER. 

George Kantor (PI of the Project at CMU Robotics Institute), Maria Eduarda Andrada (CMU Affiliated Ph.D. student at Universidade de Coimbra) and David Russell (M.Sc. student at CMU), traveled from Pittsburgh for the event, one of multiple trips during this three year project. “The SafeForest project provided a fantastic opportunity for my group at CMU to apply our research in a new domain (forestry) with new partners at universities and companies in Portugal. We were able to adapt a sensing payload that had previously been used from terrestrial vehicles in agricultural settings for us on aerial drones for mapping forests. The core CMU team was composed of two professors, a project scientist, and two masters students. Through multiple trips both ways across the Atlantic, we all had plenty of opportunities to interact directly with Portuguese team members in the US and in Portugal “, shared George Kantor.

The CMU team then showcased the demonstration of SCOUT’s capacities to  perform the mapping of the terrain and the identification of the forest areas to be cleared.

Moving to the RANGER, this semi-autonomous mobile platform consists of a compact track loader with a sensor toolkit installed, capable of removing excess vegetation based on the preliminary mapping of the area, achieving the necessary clearing of fuel breaks. 

The integration of this comprehensive system allows for terrain management planning using the map data gathered by the SCOUT, needed to effectively plan missions and trajectories for the RANGER, optimizing time and cost-effectiveness. The system presents these plans to the user, offering the opportunity to review, simulate, and make necessary adjustments. Designed with a user-friendly interface and intuitive operation, the system caters to both forest operators and landowners.

According to Micael Couceiro, Ingeniarius CEO, “the development of these two semi-autonomous robots has significantly enhanced land clearing missions compared to traditional methods. The software designed for terrain and vegetation mapping, along with the platform for managing and visualizing the collected data, have been instrumental in enabling more effective clearing missions.”

By employing these mobile robots, it is possible to remove redundant vegetation efficiently and safely, reducing the risk of forest wildfires. Moreover, the ability for robots to navigate semi-autonomously reduces hazards for human operators, minimizes the environmental impact of land clearing by reducing, for example, the use of herbicides, and improves the adaptability to different types of terrain and weather conditions.

However, as noted by Micael Couceiro “While the Safeforest project has achieved significant results, there is still further work required to make the solution commercially viable. In particular, we need to improve the integration between perception and action of robots, enabling them to operate more effectively in complex and dynamic environments, such as those found in forests.”

The PI at CMU added “there is still much work to do, but the SafeForest project represents an important and tangible step toward using robotics and AI to mitigate potential wild fires around the world. ”

The event also counted with the presence of the 2nd  Regional Commander Francisco Peraboa, representing the Autoridade Nacional de Emergência e Proteção Civil (the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority).

The three year project which started in 2019, will end by June 2023. However, the team has plans to further develop these technologies in the future by applying to other funding initiatives. 

The Safeforest Project – Semi-Autonomous Robotic System for Forest Cleaning and Fire Prevention (CENTRO-01-0247-FEDER-045931) – is co-financed by FEDER, COMPETE 2020, by the CENTRO2020 Program and by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) under the CMU Portugal Program.

Workshop Video
In the Media: TSF; Techenet ; Science X; Bit Magazine

More about the project here.

CMU Portugal End of Semester Brunch

The CMU Portugal program hosted an End of Semester Brunch on campus in the Cohon University Center on April 28th, 2023. This event brought together CMU Portugal students who are currently studying in Pittsburgh including Dual Degree Ph.D., Affiliated Ph.D., and visiting students. Attending students were from multiple CMU departments including Software and Societal Systems (S3D), Language Technologies Institute (LTI), Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), Computer Science (CS) and Robotics.

As the Spring 2023 semester came to a close, this event offered an opportunity for students to enjoy a meal while gathering to discuss summer plans, build relationships, and network. 

If you want the opportunity to experience a research period at CMU, the CMU Portugal Program and Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) have currently an open call for up to 10 visiting faculty and 12 visiting students. For more information on this call, please visit our 2023 Mobility Initiatives page. For information on the application process, please visit our Admissions and Scholarships page. 

Four CMU Portugal Ph.D. candidates were awarded a Huawei Scholarship

CMU Portugal Ph.D. students Carolina Carreira, Cláudio Gomes, Luís Gomes and Manuel Reis Carneiro are among the 2022 Huawei Scholarship Program recipients, an initiative that distinguishes university students in ICT related areas for their academic and personal merit. The 50 winners were selected among 5300 applicants and received a prize of 5000€ each in a Ceremony held in Lisbon.

Luís Gomes, Carolina Carreira and Manuel Carneiro. (Cláudio Gomes was at CMU)

Under the theme “Seeds for the Future 2.0”, the 2022 edition of the initiative sponsored by Huawei, aims at promoting Higher Education in Portugal and to support young talents in the field of technology. In addition to engineering, technology, and related areas, this second edition was extended to renewable energies due to the growth of the area in Portugal. 

Regarding the four CMU Portugal awardees

Carolina Carreira

“I am thrilled to be one of the recipients of the Huawei scholarship program. Not only does this program foster gender equality in the engineering industry, but it also recognizes the importance of cultivating talent and innovation for a better tomorrow. With this scholarship, I primarily intend to support travel expenses, allowing me to collaborate with more researchers. I am very grateful for this opportunity and its recognition.”

Carolina Carreira is a CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. student in Human Computer-Interaction enrolled in 2022 at Instituto Superior Técnico (Técnico) and Carnegie Mellon University’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute. She is also a researcher at INESC ID, and her main research topic is Usable Security, focused on users’ motivations and concerns when using security software. 

Cláudio Gomes

“I am thrilled and honored to receive this recognition from Huawei! This is such a wonderful initiative and will make a significant difference in my Dual Ph.D. Program. The funding will be very valuable to acquire new equipment and may help me attend conferences so I learn in the best conditions and from the best. Plus, I am so proud of my fellow CMU Portugal colleagues who also got the distinction. We are part of an amazing community, and I am glad that Huawei sees our potential and value.”

Cláudio is a CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) at FCUP and Carnegie Mellon ECE Department. He has a master’s degree in informatics engineering, with a subspecialty in Intelligent Systems. He has been performing extensive research on Quantum Computing, with a focus on Finance.

Luís Gomes

“I am thrilled and grateful to have received the Huawei scholarship. The award means a lot to me, and I cannot express enough how thankful I am to everyone who helped me over the years. The scholarship is a recognition of my hard work and dedication, and it allows me to pursue my dreams and educational goals. With this scholarship, I plan to invest even more in my education. As a CMU Portugal student, I’ll be able to visit the US and Carnegie Mellon more often, working in research and attending workshops and conferences. Additionally, I will use the funds to purchase the necessary material for my studies, which will enhance my learning experience and help me achieve my academic goals.”

Luís Gomes is a CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. student in Software Engineering at FCUP and CMU Software and Societal Systems Department. He has a master’s degree in computer science, specializing in Intelligent Systems and Data Science. Luís research topics relate to SE and AI, especially using DL techniques to solve real-life.

Manuel Reis Carneiro

“I am truly honored and grateful to have received this grant from Huawei. Knowing that my academic efforts and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed is great. This grant is not only a financial reward, but the whole selection process was a journey of self-knowledge that made me look at myself from a different perspective so I could better and more effectively present myself, my achievements, and the projects i’m involved in. Being a recipient of this Huawei grant is also a recognition and reminder of my pledge to society: using my skills and knowledge to build a better future through my academic and scientific work.”

Manuel Reis Carneiro is a CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Universidade de Coimbra and CMU ECE Department. Manuel has an M.Sc. degree in electrical and computer engineering with a specialization in automation from Universidade de Coimbra. His research interests include stretchable and printed electronics, bioelectronic systems, and human-machine interfaces, with a particular focus on medical applications.

Luís Gomes, Carolina Carreira and Manuel Carneiro. (Cláudio Gomes was at CMU)
2022 Winners -Credits: Huawei

The 2021 edition list of winners is available here and included CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. student in Software Engineering Catarina Gamboa. 

Portuguese Delegation headed by Minister Elvira Fortunato visited Carnegie Mellon

Portuguese Minister of Science, Technology, and Higher Education, Elvira Fortunato, recently made her first official visit to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh alongside the Portuguese Ambassador in the United States, Francisco Duarte Lopes, and Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (FCT) President Madalena Alves. The three-day CMU Portugal Summit brought together the Portuguese and CMU communities for a series of discussions and an overview of the CMU Portugal Program. 

The CMU Portugal partnership is based on a close interaction between all its stakeholders, from Academic & Research institutions to Industry. The working visit counted on high-level participation of  Carnegie Mellon University Leadership, including the President of the University, Farnam Jahanian; CMU Provost and Chief Academic Officer, James H. Garrett, Jr.; the Dean of the College of Engineering, Bill Sanders, and the Dean of the School of Computer Science, Martial Hebert

The event allowed partners from both sides of the Atlantic to network, develop new connections, and establish the ground for future collaborations bringing together a mixture of Portuguese and CMU representatives.

In attendance were CMU Portugal Directors José M. F. Moura, Inês Lynce, and Nuno Nunes as well as scientific directors Lia Patrício, Paulo Marques, and Rui Maranhão. Portugal was also represented by research institutions, including FEUP, INESC TEC, INESC ID, Instituto Superior Técnico, and FCTUC and representatives from partner companies Outsystems, Farfetch, Feedzai, Nexar, and Unbabel. In addition, 26 CMU faculty members and researchers and 29 CMU Portugal Ph.D. students participated in the action-packed activities.

The impressive turnout for this visit confirms the commitment of all involved in fostering a dynamic innovation ecosystem between Portugal and CMU, which has been the fruitful outcome of the ongoing efforts under the CMU Portugal Program since its inception in 2006.

But let’s take a closer look at the work conducted during the three days of the 2023 CMU Portugal Summit . 

Day 1 

Bill Sanders, Dean of the College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and the Portuguese Ambassador to the United States Francisco Duarte Lopes opened the event to a room full of Portuguese and CMU researchers, entrepreneurs and CMU Portugal Ph.D. students.

The first morning was dedicated to the students.

Afonso Amaral kicked off the CMU Portugal Student Presentations Session, presenting a study from Portugal and Spain on how to leverage domestic industry to enter the strategic markets carried out under his Dual Degree in Engineering and Public Policy at Instituto Superior Técnico and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy. 


Margarida Ferreira, a Dual Degree Ph.D. student in Computer Science at Instituto Superior Técnico and at CMU Computer Science Department, presented her work on Program synthesis for reverse engineering congestion control algorithms that she has been developing at CMU School of Computer Science, INESC ID, and Técnico.  


Next, Manuel Reis Carneiro spoke on his work on biostickers for digital health that can be stretchable and comfortable. A work  being developed at FCTUC and CMU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. 



Sofia Martins, Dual Degree Ph.D. student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at FEUP and at CMU Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, introduced how she is developing an experimental testbed energy model for virtualized RANS under CMU Portugal Large Scale project FLOYD.



CMU Portugal student in Language Technologies at Técnico and CMU LTI Institute, Gabriel Moreira, spoke about his collaboration with the iFetch team, a Large Scale Project promoted by the Portuguese ICT Unicorn Farfetch on “Multimodal conversational agents for the online fashion marketplace”. 


Catarina Fidalgo is doing her CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. on Enhancing Remote Collaboration in Mixed Reality by Manipulating Perception at Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.and Tecnico. Her preliminary thesis title is “Enhancing Remote Collaboration in Mixed Reality by Manipulating Perception”. 


Luis Borges also had the opportunity to share his Ph.D. work toward optimizing the time to find relevant documents. Luis is a CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. candidate at the LTI Institute and Técnico.



During her presentation, Maria Casimiro highlighted the work developed under her internship last year at  Feedzai and the collaboration with CMU Portugal visiting students. Maria is a CMU Portugal Software Engineering Dual Degree Ph.D. student at the Distributed Systems Group of INESC-ID/Instituto Superior Técnico, and at CMU  Software and Societal Systems Department.


To close the CMU Portugal Student Presentations Session Tamás Karácsony, CMU Portugal  Affiliated Ph.D. student at FEUP currently spending his research period at CMU Robotics Institute, guided us through his work on innovative AI solutions to classify epileptic seizures.


The session was followed by a network lunch offering a great opportunity for students and Minister Fortunato, Ambassador Lopes and President Alves,  to interact and learn more about the research being carried out under CMU Portugal Program’s flagship’s Educational initiatives. In the 2023 spring semester, 28 students are at CMU under the CMU Portugal Program and 17 are hosted at different Universities in Portugal. 

The afternoon of the first day was dedicated to the Research Initiatives being developed under CMU Portugal Exploratory (ERP) and Large Scale Collaborative Research Projects (LSCRP).

Six Projects were presented. Starting with the ERP SyNAPSE – Synthesizing Network Accelerators using Programmable Switching Equipment – by Justine Sherry from the Computer Science Department from the School of Computer Science in collaboration with Luís Pedrosa and Fernando Ramos from INESC ID. According to Justine, Exploratory projects are “a great opportunity to create other projects that will keep the collaboration between researchers in Portugal and CMU growing.”

David Garlan, from the School of Computer Science,  discussed the results of CAMELOT, a project led by Feedzai in collaboration with the Software and Societal Systems Department at CMU, FCUL and Técnico and the work of the three CMU Portugal Ph.D. students that he is currently co-advising. 

Limin Jia of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department presented the Exploratory project DIVINA – Detecting Injection Vulnerabilities In Node.js Applications developed in collaboration with José Santos, Nuno Santos INESC ID, and Pedro Adão from Instituto de Telecomunicações. 

The Exploratory project PROMETHEUS – PocketQube Framework Designed for Research and Educational Access to Space – is being developed in collaboration with Alexandre Silva at Universidade do Minho and Rodrigo Ventura at Técnico. The presentation was led by the project’s researcher at CMU Zachary Manchester . The audience, including Portuguese Minister Elvira Fortunato, had the chance to hold the microsatellite prototype developed under the project. 

David Wettergreen from CMU Robotics Institute presented SAFEFOREST, a Semi-Autonomous Robotic System for Forest Cleaning and Fire Prevention led by Ingeniarius with the Association Development Industrial Aerodynamics (ADAI LAETA),  ISR Coimbra /FCTUC and Silvapor. The final demonstration of the project, with the robot and the drone developed under this project, is planned for next June. 

Finally, to close the session Nicholas Christin, jointly appointed in the School of Computer Science (Software and Societal Systems Department) and the Department of Engineering and Public Policy, from CMU’s College of Engineering gave a look into the exploratory project DAnon – Supervised Deanonymization of Dark Web Traffic for Cybercrime Investigation, which is the third ERP that he leads. The project is a collaboration with Portuguese researchers at INESC-ID, INESC TEC, and FCT NOVA. 

Day 2

On the second day, CMU President Farnam Jahanian, welcomed  and had a working meeting with Minister Elvira Fortunato, Ambassador Francisco Duarte Lopes, and FCT President Madalena Alves to Carnegie Mellon. 

The meeting was followed by the Engineering and Public Policy (EPP) workshop led by CMU Portugal Scientific Director Lia Patrício (FEUP), former CMU Portugal National Director João Claro (INESC TEC), and Peter Adams Head of the CMU EPP Department. The workshop included presentations from Afonso Amaral, CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. in EPP; and, via Zoom, CMU Portugal EPP alum Miguel Godinho de Matos, Full Professor of Information Systems and Management at Católica Lisbon School of Business & Economics. Professors Pedro Ferreira, Baruch FischhoffErica FuchsValerie KarplusGranger MorganJay Whitacre, and Kate Whitefoot, all from CMU,  presented some of the projects being developed in a wide range of areas. 

The afternoon of the first day was dedicated to the presentation of LSCRP GOLEM led by OutSystems. It was represented by Nuno Carneiro,  AI Strategy Lead at Outsystems, and Ruben Martins, PI of the project at CMU Computer Science Department. The project is setting a new benchmark for easy-to-use enterprise application development platforms and revolutionize the low-code and no-code development market

Next was iFETCH, an LSCRP that is developing a new generation of conversational agents for the fashion market led by the leading retailer company  Farfetch. Ricardo Sousa, the project PI and Principal Data Scientist at Farfetch presented the main achievements of the project and highlighted the importance of having 3 CMU Portugal Ph.D. students working on the project. iFetch was also represented by  João Magalhães (FCT NOVA) and João Paulo Costeira (Técnico) and Alexander Rudnicky (CMU).

IntelligentCare aims to develop a patient-centric solution to help manage Multimorbidity. To present the project’s main outcomes Pedro Ferreira PI of the project at CMU Heinz College. Hospital da Luz Learning Health leads this project in collaboration with Priberam, ISR Lisboa, INESC ID, and Técnico. 

The session ended with a presentation on MAIA, which is developing an innovative multilingual conversational platform led by Unbabel represented by Paulo Dimas, VP of product innovation at Unbabel, and Graham Neubig from CMU Language Technologies Institute. Two of our Ph.D. students, John Mendonça and Patrick Fernandes are part of the research and attended the meeting. 

The final part of the day was dedicated to the research conducted at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute (HCII). Following an introduction by HCII  Director Brad Myers, Jessica Hammer presented the eGames Lab, a project recently funded under the Portuguese European recovery and resilience plan. eGames is a unique games development and creative industries cluster in Portugal, bringing together 14 companies, R&D centers, and public & private entities, and counts CMU as one of its partners.

Next, Hon Shen & Motahhare Eslami gave a presentation on Responsible AI. This area is strongly growing at Carnegie Mellon, namely with the Responsible AI Initiative to bring research in this field under the umbrella of fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics, and to apply these principles to real-world applications affecting society.

Visits to CMU Human-Computer Interaction Labs followed HCI presentations: Morphing Matter Lab by Lining Yao and the Interactive Structures Lab by  Alexandra Ion.

The Morphing Matter Lab led by Lining Yao develops materials, tools, and applications of adaptive, dynamic, and intelligent morphing matter from nano to macro scales. Innovative research that intends to advance science and society with the design of morphing materials.

The Interactive Structures Lab led by  Alexandra Ion develops interactive computational design tools that enable the digital fabrication of complex structures for novice users—an excellent opportunity to see firsthand the work produced at the Lab and interact with some great prototypes. 

The day ended with a dinner hosted by Farnam Jahanian, President of Carnegie Mellon University, and his wife, Trish Jahanian, at their residence.  Minister Elvira Fortunato, Ambassador Francisco Duarte Lopes, and FCT President Madalena Alves were joined by the CMU Portugal Directors,  that included Provost James Garrett and a group of invited CMU Faculty members, and representatives from Portuguese companies. The dinner gave the opportunity for a broad discussion of the CMU Portugal Program by President Jahanian and Minister Elvira Fortunato and all the present guests in an informal setting. 

Day 3

The last day of the working visit to Carnegie Mellon started with presentations by CMU Robotics Institute Director Matthew Johnson-Roberson. Next, Fernando de La Torre  gave an overview of his work, focusing on the impact and the revolution the next generation of virtual reality will bring. 

After the presentations, it was time to visit the Biorobotics Lab, guided by its co-director Howie Choset, who offered a look into the work developed by one of the world’s leading Robotics Institute. 

From the Robotics Institute, the group attended a meeting hosted by Gary Fedder, Director of the Manufacturing Futures Institute. 

Gianluca Piazza and Matthew Moneck, respectively, the Director and the Executive Director of the Claire & John Bertucci Nanotechnology Laboratory (CMU Nanofabrication Facility), presented the Nano & Micro System Activities, followed by a Lab Tour.


During a working lunch, Carmel Majidi, Director of the Soft Machines Lab at the Mechanical Engineering Department, and Mahmoud Tavakoli, Director of the Soft and Printed Microelectronics Lab at ISR Coimbra from Universidade de Coimbra, presented their extensive collaborations, including the recent CMU Portugal projects WoW and Exoskins.

After the lunch presentations, Carmel Majidi guided a tour to the Soft Machines Lab, an exciting opportunity to see the outstanding research being developed on soft robotics, stretchable circuits, or printable conductive inks. The tour included a demonstration by Manuel Carneiro, a CMU Portugal Dual Degree Ph.D. student developing his research work at the Soft Machines Lab, co-advised by Mahmoud Tavakoli and Carmel Majidi at CMU Mechanical Engineering Department. 

To wrap up the CMU Portugal Summit, CMU Provost James Garrett and Dean Bill Sanders joined the Minister, the Ambassador, FCT President, and CMU Portugal Director at CMU José M.F. Moura for a closing meeting. The day was not over without a fruitful discussion with CMU Portugal students to hear their feedback about their ongoing Ph.D. During the conversation, the Minister highlighted that they are not only regular Ph.D. students but are representing Portugal at one of the most renowned Universities. 

As the event came to a close, it became evident that the event went beyond its jam-packed schedule to create a space where researchers and companies could convene and explore novel opportunities and synergies. In addition to upholding the Program’s legacy of fostering collaboration between the CMU community and Portuguese academia and industry, the visit served as a catalyst for a new era of innovation that promises to unfold in the coming year.

MCTES article

In the Media: RTP Online, Observador, Notícias ao Minuto, dnotícias, Total news agency.